Why am I writing myself?
November 27, 2011 7:21 AM   Subscribe

Is this some type of spam? If so how would it work?

I have a business email address with my domain name and a personal email address through gmail. I have my business email forwarded to my personal gmail account so I only have to check one place. This morning I was shocked to see a message from my personal email address to my business email address (which is really specific, but does appear on my business site).

The email had no subject and was blank and showed the name of the sender as me. However, when I checked, the sending email address was myemailaddress82@gmail.com instead of myemailaddress@gmail.com.

Why would someone do this? I'm not planning on replying, of course, but is the point to see if my business address is valid or have I perhaps already gotten some horrible virus because I opened the email?
posted by robotyoshimi to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's simple address spoofing. The messages aren't coming from your account, someone just has your address and is putting it in the From section. Incredibly easy to do and one of the things spammers do to try and trip up filters.
posted by msbutah at 7:55 AM on November 27, 2011

And I just realized "has your address" could sound sinister. I meant it shows up in some database somewhere, probably harvested from some online newsletter or website. Not control of your address in any way.
posted by msbutah at 8:06 AM on November 27, 2011

It's called a "joe job".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:34 AM on November 27, 2011

But why an empty email? Do they really think I'd reply to an email from myself? And the email address isn't my email address exactly, it's my email address with the number 82 added to the end and showing the sender name as the same as mine. I have a fairly common name and my name is my email address and as a result, I've received many entertaining emails over the years, but this one puzzles me because I can't see any payoff from them.

I looked at the header but because I have my original email set up to be automatically forwarded to gmail, it just shows that it came from my original email account. I'll have remember how to log on to that email box directly to see the original header info, I guess.
posted by robotyoshimi at 8:47 AM on November 27, 2011

Don't discount the possibility that the script kiddy screwed up somehow and forgot to include any kind of message body. A lot of these spammers are using canned software they didn't write themselves.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:52 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I clear the filters for a large organization and there are large amounts of empty and screwed up messages sent out. It's not uncommon for whatever bot/script that's hammering these out on the fly to do so incorrectly.
posted by msbutah at 9:26 AM on November 27, 2011

Sometimes they will also send an empty email to see if they dont get a bounce back, to see if their target addresses are still valid.
posted by jozxyqk at 11:00 AM on November 27, 2011

Here's a comment I made about Joe Jobs and how they relate to a different subject that gives an idea of how poorly targeted such things can get.

What it boils down to is that spamming is not spear phishing. They're not carefully honing an e-mail message that will convince you to buy their shoddy or counterfeit goods - their flooding the web with a zillion messages from a ton of borrowed addresses. That the e-mails are sometimes incoherent (or even blank) or that they regularly send an email with a spoofed address to that spoofed address is not surprising.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:12 AM on November 27, 2011

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